On Sat 27 Aug a mate and I double handed RW to Newcastle for her final bug inspection by AQIS. I am happy to report she has a clean bill of health and is now officially an Aussie - thanks AQIS, your service was excellent. It was great to sail with someone who has sailed and raced, as you can leave them to tweak and adjust for a change! Not much breeze however plenty of Humpbacks doing their thing breeching, flapping fins to attract males and generally have a 'whale of a time' pardon the pun! We left Port around 1000 h and finally managed to turn the green anchor off for a couple of hours. It was a very pleasant sail with Éric the autopilot' earning his keep as we watched the whales with coffees in hand. The afternoon seabreeze had us sailing into Newcastle Harbour around 1530 for a well deserved beer at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC).
While RW was in the NCYC marina John from Doyle Sails (Sydney) measured her up for her new suite of 'Boat Show Special' whites. I have some work to do to install a detachable Solent Stay behind the forestay so I can fly a hanked on battened #3 or a high aspect storm jib. The theory being as the wind increases and the furling genoa is furled from 135% to 100% then furled away completely, I then hoist the #3 that I would have positioned on the Solent Stay in readiness for the stronger breeze - safe, more efficient and therefore easier to maintain the groove.
The following Sat 03 Sep I sailed RW back with a couple of workmates, one of whom brought his two young lads. They were all first timers - both in a yacht and offshore. Glorious day saw us complete the mandatory RW safety brief and famil tour, before motoring out of Newcastle in zero breeze. Offshore we picked up some breeze and a 2m ground swell. As we headed NE the forecast 5-10 knt wind backed and freshened from E to NNE and then N, so off we headed ENE. By the time a few hours had passed we had the 2nd reef in the main, #2 rolled genoa, two crew down for the count and two dads grinning from ear to ear as they steered RW headlong on the long beat! The Sigma is a great boat to windward. We saw only a few whales this time, but they were only about 200m abeam when they broached, so it was a great sight for all on board.
The set onto Stockton Beach is quite strong so we headed ENE for searoom and pointed as high as my steerers could maintain. Great effort by the guys to maintain a good speed in these conditions. We had a constant 22 with gusts to 26 on a NNE swell of 2m with 1-1.5 m seas. I had the guys fighting for top speeds. We started off around 4.5 knts, then 6....7 to windward and ended up on a beam reach at with a top speed of 10.1 under white sails, so they certainly got the hang of it!
RW is back on her mooring and awaiting her next outing late Sep.